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Comment Re:MAD (Score 2) 342


<quote><p>MAD prevented WWIII. I don't care whether the people who build them or the people who authorize their construction are corrupt, or worship a giant statue of a sexually aroused Beelzebub, the fact is that we are kept largely secure from would be Napoleons, Hitlers and Stalins by the mere fact that these weapons exist.</p></quote>

<p>Hitler would have pushed the button just before he pulled the trigger.</p><p>MAD only works when all the owners of knukes are reasonably sane.</p></quote>

Not entirely plausible. Hitler had vast stores of chemical weapons that he refused to use because of the mass destruction that he knew they would cause and even he didn't want that because he remembered the horror they caused after being attacked by chemical weapons when he was a soldier in the trenches in WWI. He could have utterly destroyed hundreds of thousands of invading Russian troops daily for a few day or weeks, until the Russian counter-attacked with the same weapons. But he didn't. If both sides had nuclear weapons, I'm sure the same rationalization would have taken place even if he was going to suicide the next day.

Comment Re:Faster than the global average? (Score 1) 182

This manifests most discernably in the relatively huge sea level differences between the pacific side the Panama canal and the Atlantic side.

There isn't a "huge" difference. It's a matter of a few inches (eight I think on average). It's mostly as a result of wind and current pushing the water up on the Pacific side as the prevailing winds there blow onshore on the Pacific side and offshore on the Atlantic side.

Comment Re:Faster than the global average? (Score 4, Funny) 182

I just want to point out that many people learn at an early age that the Panama canal uses locks to raise and lower ships passing through, and that these are absolutely necessary because the sea levels on the two ends are different.

WTF? You make this statement in a post where you're trying to make someone else seem uneducated and unknowledgeable? The sea levels on the two ends are not different. They are the same. The locks are there because the water in the canal comes from rivers that feed into it and the canal is not at sea level the whole way across-- it rises to cross the terrain. Incoming river water fills the locks to raise the ships and it is released when the locks are drained to lower the ships.

Comment Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 348

Secondly, it does not cover any communication where the sender or receiver has an expectation of privacy. If he is emailing someone who is not being paid to work on that particular project, such as a graduate student or another person in his field or department, that information is not going to be covered by the FOIA as it violates the expectation of privacy of the person outside the project sending or receiving the email, unless the person is specifically informed that their email may be subject to public disclosure.

His lawyers did not make a privacy argument. The made a "proprietary information" argument.

Comment Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 348

IIUC, his lawyers requested that certain materials not be produced, and in doing so quoted a section of the state law which exhempted a particular category of material from being required to be produced. If you don't like the phrasing, talk to the people who wrote the law. His lawyers were just doing their job, and making it easy for the judge.

His lawyers cannot quote the part of the law dealing with a particular category of material that is allowed to be suppressed and use it to suppress a different category altogether that is not exempted from disclosure. The phrasing has nothing to do with it if they are ignoring the statutory language of the law to begin with.

Comment Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 348

So if he texts, "I'm sorry I am not going to be in for work today I am receiving medical treatment from my mental health provider," that should be public records?

If he emails, "I am sorry Mrs. Channing, but there is no work you can do in Physics 102 to avoid a failing grade," that should be public record?

Releasing the first email would be a violation of federal law (respecting medical confidentiality) and the second one would likely violate State law or university code on student confidentiality.

The Supreme Court has ruled that American citizens have a reasonable expectation that the contents of their email will be kept private, just like their phone conversations.

But he didn't make that argument -- the argument that some of the emails should be withheld because they have private information. He made the argument that emails discussing the data relating to climate models should be withheld because they contain proprietary information that could cause the university to be less competitive with other universities in obtaining funding. That's completely different. And if he made the argument you made I might agree with him, but he made a different argument that I disagree with.

Comment Re:Why stop there? (Score 1) 496

When the power drops, and I need to get across X lanes of traffic to the breakdown lane, I'll be glad to have a mirror.

A driver certainly would want to be encased inside a protective shell if the windshield were replaced with a monitor blocking the view and bringing a whole new meaning to BSOD.

Of course once self-driving cars hit the successive generations/versions, all bets are off.

The Apollo space capsule didn't have a glass windshield up front and the astronauts managed to get all the way to the moon and back without a BSOD killing them. I think I can handle a trip to my local Piggly Wiggly without one.

Comment Re:Why stop there? (Score 1) 496

What about ditching the windshield and replacing it with a 4k HD screen? Then you can embed the driver lower-down and deep inside a protective hardened shell. A no-glass car all around.

Then how about ditching the wheels, and just simulate movement on the 4K screen. You could drive as fast you want in perfect safety.

That's more or less what I already do with Amazon. I have ditched the car altogether for most shopping trips and replaced it with a virtual shopping center that has almost everything I need right there on my 24" computer monitor.

Comment Submarines (Score 0) 496

I assume submarines have replaced the captain looking thru the periscope with his eyes to a camera mounted there and a Star-Trek-style viewscreen viewable to everyone in the control room. If they haven't they should. You can add infrared sensors and stuff to the video. And no more red light so as to not damage the captain's night vision.

Comment What about aircraft? (Score 4, Interesting) 496

I always wondered why aircraft don't have embedded cameras all around. One to observe the landing gear, one pointed at the tail rudder, one for each engine, one for the ailerons/flaps etc. No more guessing what is going on based on instrumentation and sending a crewman to look out the window to see if he can spot the problem. Easier to detect icing, snow load on the wing while on the runway, etc.

Comment Don't confuse cosmetology with cosmology either (Score 1) 326

If you go to college and pick cosmology classes expecting cosmetology classes, you will be in for a big surprise first day of class. And if you pick them vice-versa as well. I don't know which situation would be more interesting -- maybe there's a TV sitcom in the concept somewhere. A young Howard Wolowitz-type mistakenly goes to cosmetology class, decides to stay with it what with all the girls there and all, and is vastly rewarded for doing so.

Comment Re:Are we doomed? (Score 3, Interesting) 102

Does anyone get the impression that our civilization is doomed? Short of finding a way of making practical nuclear fusion reactors work, something that has been always "30 years from now" since the time I was in middle school forty years ago, there seems to be no solution to our future energy needs that don't do evil things to our planet's climate that eventually will doom our civilization.

You are 100% correct no matter what the source of energy. The course we are on is unsustainable at our current rate of energy consumption. Tom Murphy's excellent essay "Galactic-Scale Energy" made the case rather well (and it deserves its own Slashdot entry if it hasn't already had one -- I'm too lazy too look it up). About 1400 years from now (which is less time into the future than we are from the fall of the Roman Empire) we will be using more energy than is currently produced by the entirety of the sun if we don't back off on the growth of our energy consumption, which is showing no signs of easing up. It doesn't matter if the source of the energy is fossil fuels, nuclear fusion, or some future magic, the earth cannot host that amount of energy consumption. The planet will have reached its thermodynamic limit long before then.

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Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?